Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sep | 30 | The Sound of The Chamberpot

Key Word:- INTEGRITY

Title:- The Sound of The Chamberpot

1 Chronicles 16:25-27 For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before Him; Strength and gladness are in His place.

The Great War (1914-1918) devastated Britain and France. The loss of life in unceremonial and industrial slaughter, was overwhelming and later marked in every city, town and village by memorials with multitudes of the inscribed names of the dead. These two countries never again wanted another European War.

Signed today in 1938 the 'Munich Pact' seemed to ensure that Anglo-German relations would never again break down and disturb the peace of Europe. Sure, Czechoslovakia was to be carved up piecemeal and Hitler given his piece of silver but never the less, peace was ensured, and no more would tens of thousands die unnecessarily. Chamberlain, the then British Prime Minister, returned to England from Munich, rested, relieved and triumphantly waving the signed paper pact, declaring both, “Peace with honour” and “Peace in our time.” Later at 10 Downing Street, he is reported to have added, “My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time... Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.” In less than a year, Hitler's invasion of Poland would plunge Europe and the whole world, into years of total war.

There are two hard lessons for us to learn here. These lessons not only apply nationally but individually; not only apply materially but spiritually as well. Remember then:

Firstly, that those intent on bloody conquest can never be appeased. Never!
Secondly, that there is no peace without righteousness.

Fatigued and recovering warriors need to take note of this. Knowing our desire for peace and our need for recovery and space, the Devil will come and speak an alluring peace to us even attempting to make pacts of peace with us. I am personally familiar with the 'Draw back and I'll leave you alone' offers of the enemy. However, be the offer of withdrawal ever so subtle, be it ever so tempting, let us remember the lessons of history and pursue righteousness giving no place to the Devil. I wonder sometimes, if the peace of the whole world depends upon the righteous stand of often tired and weary warriors?

Friends, never be deceived by the Devil’s offers, nor think that on accepting them, that a nice quiet sleep will ever follow. When the Devil speaks peace, do not rest but keep on resisting! For all you are really hearing is the sound of his urine wizzing down the sides of a chamber pot and quite frankly, that’s as much as his words are ever worth. A pot of pee. Never forget that.

Listen:- Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:8-11

Pray:- Lord. Give us Your peace. Help us to settle and even sleep well upon the roaring seas, because we are cradled in the hammock of Your great righteousness and might. Oh let righteousness and peace always be the bed fellows of all my weariness. Amen.

Sep | 30 | The Honking Questioning of Blind Birds

Dream Word – CONSIDER


Job 28:7 There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen: KJV

The Honking Questioning of Blind Birds

Tonight, the geese arrived.

In North America, the transition of the seasons from summer to winter is heralded in cacophonic announcement by the arrival of those curl-tipped, winged and honking hoards, who, as chatty winners at an old ladies Bingo club, slide elegantly down the invisible banisters of the air and take their place in seats of water, cold and silver in the setting sun. The Canada geese have come to town carrying their annual message in their barking bills.

It is said that the skies of the promised land were often darkened by the rising smoke of millions of burnt sacrificial offerings. Of course, all the offal from this daily carnage would have been thrown away, making Israel a continual 24 hour all you can eat buffet for the sharp-clawed raptors that scratched the air for blood. The other birds, the vegan varieties of fowl, the democratic doves of peaceful destinies, even to this day, eschew, rebuff and hold in great contempt, all the red-flagged hawks of the republics of running blood. These two birds do not mix. These two birds do not talk to one another, make no deals, have no real fellowship, but from two distinct aerial perspectives, these birds quite simply get on with their jobs, seeing in detail, even from the heights of the whirling skies above, all their destinies and dishes, the raptors always beholding by bright and zoomed-in focus, their prey at prayer, either scurrying across the earth, or swimming in the waters, maybe even lying and waiting to be plucked like grass, from the smoothed-out rocks, gowned with glowing green, hid beneath the dancing surface of many a giggling brook. These birds always see their meals from afar.

You see, most birds whether those with monocular or binocular vision, have eyes that are flatter than human eyes and it is this flatness, that allows birds of both perspective, even the hawk and the dove, to have a much larger area in focus, whilst we more rounded and human individuals, focus on a much, much smaller area. In other words, birds see far better than we do! However, our text for tonight says, even to these far and better sited fowl, “Precious pathways, beneath the furnace earth, full of rubied treasures, lay hidden from even their more full and far-focused sight.”

Some of us will hunt upon the surface of our souls; some of us will scavenge and feed upon the offal of other men’s sacrifice; some of us will play a life of Bingo, occasionally dipping our heads beneath the surface of the shimmering silvers, to graze on green and pluck the unseen harvest from the winter-coated rocks, which lay shivering in the dark. However, some us will stop the grasping and the grazing, the occasional dipping into the deep and go and dig for ourselves treasure from beneath the surface of the earth. Yes, some of us will dig for victory, even though we cannot see it from above. Yes, some of us will become treasure hunters.

Tonight the geese arrived, carrying a message in their honking bills, “Time is passing” they said, “Another year has gone,” they said, “Show us the treasures that only you can find, show us the burning eyes of sapphire that we can never see, show us the long streaked silver and the shining of the yellowed sun gold, show us,” they said, “Show us all the treasures of darkness which you have plucked from far beneath all the air-circled earth, this long year passed.”

So my friends as autumn begins to take its grip and winter follows hard on its red and orange coat tails, just what hidden pathways have you pursued this year? What treasures have you plucked out from the recesses of your mind, from the caves of your soul and the depths of your spirit? What treasures have you found from all the mining in the very heart of your being? What treasure trove have you found hidden beneath your earth? What have you gotten from your mines and distilled from the smelters hot refining fire?

Listen: - "Surely there is a mine for silver, And a place where gold is refined. Iron is taken from the earth, And copper is smelted from ore. Man puts an end to darkness, And searches every recess For ore in the darkness and the shadow of death. He breaks open a shaft away from people; In places forgotten by feet They hang far away from men; They swing to and fro. As for the earth, from it comes bread, But underneath it is turned up as by fire; Its stones are the source of sapphires, And it contains gold dust. That path no bird knows, Nor has the falcon's eye seen it. " Job 28:1-7 NKJV

Pray: Lord, lead me to the mines, lead me to work, lead me to hidden pathways, lead me to all the secret treasures, hidden beneath my earth. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sep | 29 | Of Worms and Watchwords

Key Word - FEAR

Isaiah 41:14  “Fear not, you worm Jacob, You men of Israel! I will help you,” says the LORD And your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

Of Worms and Watchwords

Yesterday we looked at the watchwords of the Warriors of God; them being, “Strength and Courage.” Large shields are these magnificent words, sharp swords even strong steeds, iron gates, fearsome friends that are always marching onwards together, the valiant vanguard of any advance. Yet just as the largest and strongest of athletes can be felled by a mere microbe and left sweating and moaning in a gibbering heap, so these two great words, strength and courage, can in a New York minute, have their foundations eaten away by a small and little, wriggly worm. Such eating away, will double us up with unexpected pain and like the burst and dissipated waters from premature twins, our now cringing cowardice will first give birth to weakness and then to death. The worm I speak of is FEAR. Once fear takes root friends: kingdoms fall! Selah.

In my experience and observation, the introduction of this worm of fear is one of the chief weapons in the armoury of the enemy. Like most vile and viral agents, it needs to a have good breeding ground, it needs to have the right climate to multiply its madness. That climate is DOUBT. Doubting the faithfulness of God; doubting the good intentions of God; doubting the capacities of God, doubting especially the goodness of God. “He’s deserted me. Did I really hear Him? Maybe He won’t help me. Maybe He can’t help me? Maybe He’s against me? I wonder if He wants to harm me really?”

DOUBT IS ALWAYS the precursor to fear. So may I suggest that to remove and kill the worms of fear, we need first to remove the climate of doubt. How then does the damp despair of doubt begin to clothe the mountain tops of strong courageous hearts and envelope them like cold thick fog? May I suggest that three things give rise to this deadly climate.

The first is, Discouragement. Fighting of any kind has its setbacks. A ‘right hook’ from the enemy may violently turn your head and for a moment, rock your world. When this happens, suck it up, cover up, get your breath back, bob, weave, stick your left out, then get back in there, this time watching out for that which hurt you so much the last time. So first of all, DO NOT LET HARD BLOWS DISCOURAGE YOU.

Secondly, LACK OF LISTENING. God always gives instructions before the battle. Always! Listen to this and follow closely. Note as well that in conflict, God will always provide times of rest, so when you get back to your corner, listen. Receive the refreshing water, the cool wind of the flapping towel, the grease and the fixings, but whatever you do, listen and listen hard. If we think we are not hearing from our Master, our trainer, our coach, then we are in deep distress. The feeling of seeming desertion and being totally alone will shrink and shrivel our hearts to the size of old walnuts. Secondly then, be sure to listen to God.

Lastly, keep looking in the right place. Only one corner out of four holds the eyes of encouragement and the instruction for victory that you require. Look to that corner, again and again and again. Don’t get disorientated, don’t get misled, and above all, when in need of encouragement, direction and help, keep looking to God’s corner.

Discouragement, lack of listening and misdirected gazing, will all cloud your sky, will set your sun and will bring down the cold fog of doubt in double quick time. Such cold isolation will breed the worms of fear and those eaten by them, will wriggle like them, convulsing on the Devil’s dire and dirty hook, their strength and courage, stripped and strained away their face now all yellow with cowardice. Today then oh maggoty eaten friend, get off the hook, get up, get on, listen intently and this time, look in the right direction.

Listen: - …. “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” Daniel 10:18-19

Pray: - Lord, Revive me. Shine bright in my sky, burn away the fog of doubt, set me on my feet, strengthen me and help me today O my God, my strength and my redeemer. Teach me to be more than a conqueror through Him who loved me and gave Himself for me. Amen.

 

Sep | 29 | No More To The Dance

Dream Word – DESIRE

Psalm 65:4 Blessed is the man You choose, And cause to approach You, That he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Of Your holy temple. NKJV

No More To The Dance

A friend of mine quoted a champion athlete who had reached the top of his game, the pinnacle of his career, the desire of his dreams, saying that when questioned regarding his success, he replied, “Well frankly it’s a little disappointing, I really expected more.” In the church, many people would like to say the same about their experience of Christianity and I have observed many people are leaving the church because of this same reason. They expected more! The fact is that many people entering the world of church rarely become solid in Christ, no, so very soon, many come to the conclusion that they have been 'sold a pup' and they leave.

This disappointment in Christianity, in Christ, is very noticeable even in long-term members of our churches and usually comes out sideways in these people. In other words, this disappointment in Christ eventually makes itself manifest in depression, manifest in sickness and manifest most usually, in sin. They are disappointed because they expected more!

The answer this disappointment, the answer to this dis-ease in Zion, has to be an active relationship between desire and satisfaction. A person in Christ must desire Christ, and must must find satisfaction in Christ, which will in turn kindle desire, which when burning in Jesus, will lead to satisfaction, which will fuel desire, which will burn in satisfaction, which will fuel desire, which will burn in satisfaction, which will, well, you get my point. We need to begin this upward spiral of satisfaction in Jesus and we need to begin it right now!

Like it or not, this means feelings. Like it or not, feelings are important. The absolute facts of the Gospel are what we hang our hats on, are what we hang our all upon, but these absolute facts will not fuel us with energy to continue and win the race. No, only the very felt presence and the manifest footsteps of God walking along with us, will keep us warm through the lonely valleys in the darkened dale of this old world. We need to feel our Christ, we need to feel our Christianity. Our experience of Jesus must become a felt reality. Spurgeon begins his opening volley of 'Daily Devotions' today with this stunning statement “He who affirms that Christianity makes men miserable, is himself an utter stranger to it.” If that is the case, then let us acknowledge but one thing tonight dear friends, and then let us make sure of but one more.

Firstly then, let us acknowledge that the vast amount of what we see in the present days of the church are indicative that most people do not truly experience Christ. Secondly, let us make sure that we do truly experience Christ.

There is a need here folks for some active pursuance of God. There is a need here for stout hearts in winning this fair prize of the felt presence of God. Maybe tonight you need to throw some rocks at the windows of the Father and demand that He get up and give you some bread. Maybe tonight you need to get out of bed and run around the city looking for your lover, weeping in desperation until you find Him. You may brush with the religious Police as they find you out of your pew so late this very night, they may even give you a right royal beating, but He shall hear about it! A report shall be made in heaven concerning the mad pursuing love which has come upon you, and who knows, tonight, when you hear the turning of your door knob, your lover may slip in and slide between your waiting sheets.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Listen: - My beloved put his hand By the latch of the door, And my heart yearned for him. I arose to open for my beloved, And my hands dripped with myrrh, My fingers with liquid myrrh, On the handles of the lock. NKJV

Pray: No more to the dance O Lord, but bring me to Your house and to Your banqueting table dear Jesus. Let me be familiar with the language of love and ask You then to fed me on Carmel and Bashan; Oh come and satisfy my soul in the mountains of Ephraim and Gilead. Amen. (Jer 50:19)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sep | 28 | Watchwords for Warriors

Key Word:- VICTORY

Title:- Watchwords for Warriors

Joshua 1:18 “Whoever rebels against your command and does not heed your words, in all that you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and of good courage.”

It was Russel Crowe’s ‘General Maximus’ in Ridley Scott’s film ‘Gladiator’ that coined the phrase “Strength and Honour.” Watchwords for warriors that’s for sure, appealing to both men and women, summoning up senses and desires for both, no matter what the cost. “Strength and Honour.” I like that.

However, the victories and glory of ‘Maximus’, pail into insignificance when placed alongside those of General Joshua. In our verse today, from the lips of the leaders of the two and one half tribes settled already on the East side of Jordan towards the rising sun, we see reference to what I might suggest, are the Watchwords of the Warriors of God. “Strength and Courage”

Paul as a prefix to dressing the Christian in the armour of heaven, begins with encouraging us to “be strong”. Being a Christian is no easy thing. This side of heaven, it is not a call to ‘wimpage,’ it is not a call to ease, it's not a call to rest; it is a call to vicious and blood spilling battle. It is a call to the most violent of conflicts, it is a call to the clash of arms, it is a call to conquest. Such a call will not go without resistance but with the utmost ferocity, it will in turn be attacked. No wonder then that Paul prefixes his battle dressing with “BE STRONG!” Resist, exert, endure, effect, energise yourself, be unmovable, “BE STRONG!”.  Lean into the Hurricane if you will, grit your teeth and snarl but whatever you do, don’t turn, don’t run, “BE STRONG!” We must take heed of this exhortation, for I tell you friends, we are truly in a battle royal where the stakes are higher than we can ever conceive. To remain standing against such onslaughts you will need to be strong and you will also need great courage.

The English word ‘courage’ has it’s roots embedded in the old French word ‘Coeur’, that is ‘heart’. Courage is a matter of the heart. If you are to stand and be strong in the face of such fierceness you must have courage, inner firmness, ingrained fortitude, desperate determination, terrible tenacity, a screaming resistance that roars back at the enemy and dares to bear it’s own teeth in terrible display.

I do think that there will come a day when we shall roll up our sleeves and show our scars and say “I got this when….,” or “this happened as…..,” or maybe “this is to remind me of….” For I wonder, if those who aspire to be God’s true generals, like His own Supreme Commander, the Blessed Saviour Jesus Christ the Lord, King of Kings, Prince of Peace and God over all, shall along with Him, also walk the streets of heaven bearing ‘red badges of courage’, even all the marks of their own involvement in conquests, battles and victories?

O Christian, is the Holy Spirit saying to you today, “Prepare yourself! For in three days you shall go over this Jordan. Only be thou strong and very courageous.”

Listen:- You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. ….. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. ……… Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. … This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him…2 Timothy 2:1-12

Pray:- Lord I pray for the fixed heart of Queen Esther, to be kept from for the lacking determination of King Joash, to be given the swinging arm of Elijah, the blind strength of Samson, the wiliness of Jael, the wisdom of Joshua, the eyesight of Moses, the mouth of Peter, the loving and embracing arms of John, the courage of the thirty and the dedication of the three. O God I pray that I would at last, be true, be true, be true, be true to Thee. Amen.
 

Sep | 28 | The Trail Of Tears

Dream Word – CHANGE

1 Timothy 6:10  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. NKJV

The Trail of Tears

It was whilst first driving down Interstate 75 in Georgia in the late 90s, that I first noticed the white signs on brown backgrounds saying “Trail of Tears”. Now the USA has a habit of naming its freeways after people of power, presence and prominence, but it was the first time I ever saw a highway called Trail of Tears, National Historic Trail. How interesting.

Another time on the same highway when driving to the North Georgia Mountains and to Ellijay, Georgia’s 'Apple Capital', I was tired and couldn’t wait to kick back, relax a little and smell the roses, indeed knowing that a white rose is Georgia’s state flower, it made the prospect of relaxation all the more attractive. How interesting.

At the time of writing this 'Whisper' I am off to a men’s retreat on the Coosawattee River. The very names of Ellijay and Coosawattee when said out loud, indicate the roots of a very different language. Indeed, these places were once part of the vast and enchanting, ancestral home of the Tsilagi People, or the Principled People, or as we know them, the Cherokee nation.

After a good night’s sleep at the men's retreat, the following day I took my laptop and drove to the Crimson Moon Café in the small town of Dahlonega, a beautiful tourist trap, selling trinkets and flavoured coffee! Dahlonega’s quaintness and beauty however, hide the fact that this was a major boomtown in the Georgia Gold rush, the first in U.S. history actually, and indeed, even became a branch mint for the United States Mint. The name Dahlonega is also of Cherokee origin and means, 'yellow money'.

The examination of history is a complicated affair. However I believe it is safe to say that ultimately, it was the discovery of gold in these same North Georgia mountains that led to the forced removal of over 16,000 Cherokee Indians, to diseased holding forts and then to a journey of over 1,000 miles on foot, to their new and very different lands in Oklahoma. This forced march resulted in the death of between 4,000 and 6,000 Cherokee. It is reported that the mothers of the Cherokee were grieving and perpetually crying on the journey, because they were unable to help their children survive. The Cherokee elders prayed for a sign that would lift the mothers' spirits and so give them strength to continue. The next day, a beautiful rose began to grow where each of the mothers' tears had fallen. The rose is white for their tears; a gold center representing the gold taken from Cherokee lands, and the seven leaves on each stem represent the seven Cherokee clans. This Georgia state flower, this wild Cherokee Rose, grows along the route of the Trail of Tears into eastern Oklahoma even today.

Make no mistake about it; Chief Dragging Canoe was correct when he said that it was the “continual advancing banners of a greedy host” that consumed the ancient nations in the USA. Spiritually speaking, greed always leads to a 'trail of tears'. So then, may I ask you what might be greedy for tonight? How might that end in tears for other people, even for you? Think about that. If greed destroys nations, how will you fair in succumbing to that self same lust?

Many Cherokees had become Christians by the time of the Trail of Tears and missionaries who travelled with them, report that they were great singers. On this Trail of Tears, the Cherokee Christians sang one particular song, which since then has become the unofficial national anthem of the Cherokee Nation. That song is ‘Amazing Grace.’ Translating it back from the Cherokee it reads:

God's son
Paid for us,
Then to heaven He went,
After paying for us.

But He said,
When He rose,
"I'll come again,"
He said when He spoke.

All the earth will end
When He comes.
All will see Him
All over the earth.

All the good people living
He will come after.
Heaven always,
In peace they will live


The first book to be translated into Cherokee was a hymn book. Along your 'trail of tears', the answer to destruction of the pursuit of great greed is always amazing grace. Did you get that?

Listen: - Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we may boldly say: "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" Hebrews 13:5-6 NKJV

Pray: Lord I set my eyes on You. Deliver me from greed, especially the covetous greed of another person's, goods, land, property and relationships. By Your amazing grace, help me O Lord to be content with what I have. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sep | 27 | Fat Lips

Key Word:- CHANGE

Title:- Fat Lips

Matthew 11:19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!”

The Scriptures do not appear to tell us what constitutes being overweight. Even the book of Leviticus has no measurement, no height to weight ratio for us to calculate this, or even and maybe especially, to repent of this sin. There I've done it. I've made the connection about being fat and sinning. Now you're really feeling awful, maybe even angry, but please, allow me to continue for I wish to settle this silliness and then clarify correctness.

In the Old Testament, fat and fatness were used as signs of evident blessings. The people of God were to eat the fat of the land, delight themselves in fatness even! Indeed listen to Isaac pronouncing the blessing, “Therefore may God give you Of the dew of heaven, Of the fatness of the earth..” Genesis 27:28 So we shall agree that a little fat never hurt anyone and it tastes so good as well!

I eat well. I eat sugar, salt and fat, every single day. I enjoy food. I delight in eating food! In my opinion though life is more than food, it never the less would be severely diminished without the enjoyment of it! I actually eat five or six times a day. No really, it forces my metabolism to work and burn up more calories. Yes, most of those meals are high protein but some of them are just jam packed with carbohydrates. I just couldn't function without them ‘carbs’. I just love 'em!

I am not overweight friends. Well not much anyway! Well just a little! The truth is that I have come, by observation and investigation, to know my body. I know how I react, in terms of energy and weight, to the food I am taking in and the task I am doing. It's a very simple routine. First I weigh myself every morning and take (for me) some key measurements around my abdomen. Then I eat just about anything, making sure the combination of what I need and want are well matched. For me, if I put on weight and my waist size is not expanding too much, then I am putting on muscle mass. Eat on baby! If I put on weight and my waist size is also growing, then I need to alter the type of nutrition I am taking in. Eat less maybe but certainly eat different. Simple really don’t you think? Try it and try getting to know yourself.

Actually, it's not simple is it? You need to begin to love, respect and honour yourself before you will ever take time to truly get to know yourself. If you do not love and honour yourself, then maybe that is the sin. Like many of you, I have a terrible body image. However I choose to honour myself. You must do so as well; beginning today. Repent of this sin of personal neglect and begin to love and respect yourself. How do you begin to do this with food? Well, in the United Kingdom, king size chocolate bars are facing the axe, for the Food and Drink Federation want to give a sign to consumers to eat in moderation. There you have it. Why not begin in honouring yourself with some moderation! The opposite of moderation is of course, gluttony and gluttony is not just a sticky little word, it is a big fat sin. Indeed, gluttony in any thing is any action that is unrestrained or excessive. Excessive unrestrained anything, especially the excessive unrestrained consumption of food, is sin.

Now before you go hurtling off in the wrong direction, remember that Jesus was not an aesthetic. Indeed, because of His enjoyment of life and His association with those who lived in unrestrained excess, He Himself fell under the accusations of the self-righteous, the ‘at ease in Zion’ if you will, the truly 'fat folk' as it were , when they commented on His lifestyle saying, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking” and continued, “Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” Mmmmm? It seems that truly fat people, have really fat mouths!Remember today these three sins.

First: Whilst enjoying life to the full and delighting yourself in the gifts of God Most High, if you do not love and honour yourself, you are sinning.

Second: If you are unrestrained and excessive in anything then it is the sin of gluttony and it needs repenting of.

Thirdly, finally and most disturbingly, may I say that if you are sat at ease in selfish success of any kind, judging the little and the less, then I wonder if no matter how cut or thin you are, that you are the frightful fat folk of the scriptures, the truly sinful, whose hard hearts are the malicious megaphones of fat and massive mouths.

Fat Mouths! Fat hearts! Now there is a sin to repent of.

Listen:- They have closed up their fat hearts; With their mouths they speak proudly. Psalm 17:10

Pray:- Lord, forgive me my fat mouth and my fat self-centered heart. Help me to bring love, honour and health to this temple of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus name, amen.

 

Sep | 27 | Resurrection Hopes

Dream Word – BELIEVE


Hebrews 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called," concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. NKJV

RESURRECTION HOPES

God is good, but God is tough.

“Lord, don’t mention me to the enemy. Lord do not say to him ‘Hey, have you seen my servant Robert?’ No Lord, please keep my name out of any conversation with him, lest I be tested like Job of old. As for Abraham, Lord just what were You thinking? Asking a man to kill his own son? Putting him through what can only be described as torture and for days and for what? Just so You could experientially know of his trust in You? I tell you Lord, if the social services ever get their hands on You, You're done! They shall lock You up and throw away the key, for abuse, yes, for abuse! There has to be a better way Lord of You conducting Your business, there has to be better way of You knowing and us, growing? Surely?"

Abraham had to endure days of terrible torment, days of torment of heart and of mind. Jacob his grandson however, would undergo years of torment, thinking his Joseph was murdered, blaming himself every day for sending his lovely son on that last mission to Dothan. Joseph did no better, who whilst being sick with unfulfilled promises, spent years in prison for a crime he did not commit. I could go on and indeed, I will do so now and even with you, yes, even with some of you reading this tonight.

For whatever reason, be it drugs, be it sexual sin, be it sickness of mind, be it raging anger, be it self-sealed pride, be it misunderstanding, be it distance, be it whatever! Many of you this very night wish you could exchange your circumstance for the comparatively simple test which Abraham had to pass through! “Good grief,” you say, “Abraham had that torture laid on his soul for days, but mine, mine, I have had it laid upon my heart for weeks, for months, for years even and I don’t know, I just do not know, how I can ever face the coming days, for each morning and each night, I lay my lost child, lost to drugs, lost to madness, lost to lifestyle, lost to self hurt, lost to dishonour, lost to anger, lost to God, LOST TO ME! Oh God, every morning and every night I lay my lost child by faith upon on Your altar, hoping, pleading, praying, looking, longing, waiting, for a resurrection and I am still waiting Lord! I am still waiting!”

To all the Abrahams of this night, both male and female, I bless your broken hearts and pray with all my might, that your hopes would be resurrected upon this very earth you place knees upon. May God grant you strength and continued belief for this oh most pressing miracle. If however, hope is dead, died even long ago, for maybe even your altar-child died, when the circumstantial knife was not halted by an angel and when the sharp self-hating scythe, cut the limbs off life, then I am so sorry; I am so very sorry. Please yet believe, even let me believe for you, in a better resurrection yet to come, for who knows if all your prayers were not answered and answered in FULL, answered even in the last moment of their time here on earth, answered in an elongated second, where all eternal business was transacted in it’s fullness and into which, all the abundant grace and goodness and the rescuing power of God, was poured forth in abundance. Who knows? Believe yet.

I hope my friend, that your daily and your nightly, altar-laid child, will rise to walk through your open door on this very morrow. But if not, even if that can never be, then I hope my friend, that your child awaits you, smiling, looking this time for you, to walk through that final door of your own eternal destination.

Tonight, millions of Abrahams lay their child on God’s altar, believing in a resurrection by the good and able God. Join them in their prayers, join them in their weeping, join them in their hoping, join them in their believing, join them in their faith! For you are not alone and you are not forgotten.

Listen: - "Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me. Your sons shall make haste; Your destroyers and those who laid you waste Shall go away from you. Lift up your eyes, look around and see; All these gather together and come to you. As I live," says the Lord, "You shall surely clothe yourselves with them all as an ornament, And bind them on you as a bride does. "For your waste and desolate places, And the land of your destruction, Will even now be too small for the inhabitants; And those who swallowed you up will be far away. The children you will have, After you have lost the others, Will say again in your ears, 'The place is too small for me; Give me a place where I may dwell.' Then you will say in your heart, 'Who has begotten these for me, Since I have lost my children and am desolate, A captive, and wandering to and fro? And who has brought these up? There I was, left alone; But these, where were they?'" Thus says the Lord God: "Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations, And set up My standard for the peoples; They shall bring your sons in their arms, And your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders; Kings shall be your foster fathers, And their queens your nursing mothers; They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth, And lick up the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord, For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me." Isaiah 49:15-23 NKJV

Pray: Lord, lift up my head and my feeble, hanging hands, that I might hope in You once more. Amen.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sep | 26 | Inform Your N.O.K. to flee the W.T.C.

Key Word:- FEAR

Title:- Inform Your N.O.K. to flee the W.T.C.

Isaiah 13:6 Wail, for the day of the LORD is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty.

During our life together, my wife and I have spent some time living in Florida, ‘The Sunshine State’, and for the best part, dodged a number of nasty names. Thankfully, the ‘eye walls’ of Frances, Ivan, Jeanne, Katrina and Rita all passed us by stealing only one side of the house in which we lived. Many in those times, had not been so fortunate.

Before powerful Hurricanes make landfall, the local authorities have the power to issue mandatory evacuation notices on areas close to the coast, where they fear the winds and associated tidal surge pose a serious threat to human life. Mandatory, does not mean what you think though as people can in fact choose to stay! In cases like this it is reported that the local authorities, police, national guard etc, simply visit the people staying behind, to get from them the names of their next of kin. Now imagine that conversation!

“So despite the warnings and impending disaster, you have decided to stay then?”
“Yup!”
“Well, we won't be here and we cannot provide you with any further help. You are on your own. Give us the name of your next of kin so we can inform them of your unnecessary demise!”


It's quite a sobering thing to have someone shake their head and ask you for the names of your nearest and dearest to so inform them of your impending death! It would certainly make me think about staying in the path of perilous and pernicious storms. Indeed, the safe and the sane would regard me as a foolhardy idiot to remain in such a condition, but oh my friends, hasn't the blindness and deafness and all the other gross insensibilities of sin made fool hardy idiots of all of us, even of the whole wide world? For judgment is quickly coming upon us and yet, we choose to remain in its terrible path.

Our verse today proclaims to us on two levels.

First, Isaiah speaks to his contemporaries about the coming judgment from God’s hand in that the rising world empire would like a flood, overtake them and wash them away. If you read the whole passage you cannot escape the horror of what God Himself is about to do to His own people.

As well as this, as in most prophetic discourse, there is also a secondary proclamation which in this case is an allusion to the Final Judgment: A coming day of unspeakable destruction and devastation. Jesus in anger, when He saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Matt 3:7-8 Yes indeed, it’s been a long time coming but coming it is! God allows us to run on a while in our sin but He will cut us down.

Yes, God is Holy and needs to be respectfully 'feared'. However, God is also so very, very scary, especially when He's on the rampage and I tell you, we had best be scared, we had best be frightened, we had best be fearful of Him in this cringing and trembling way. Don't try and scale this horror down friends, don't try and dress God up in a white beard and a red suit, don't create an idol of your own nice 'enlightened' thinking about the Lord Most High! In the real sense of the phrase, God is awful! Did you hear that? God is awful and says and does awful things.

Like trembling Rahab of old, who knew of the coming destruction of her land and her people, we need to follow this wise prostitutes example and get our 'Next Of Kin' into the redeemed house of shame, that now flies the crimson stained banner from the but one waiting window in the falling walls of this old and smelly Jericho. It is not a new message that should be on the lips of the church but it is a fearful and forgotten one that we should at the last, begin to proclaim again.

A day is coming when God shall judge the living and the dead. Inform your N.O.K. to flee from the W.T.C.

Listen:- ….Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:8b-10

Pray:- Lord, no angry, self righteous, mad, malicious and masochistic prophet is needed to spread this message of the fearful Wrath To Come. But rather, please send Your weeping Jeremiahs into the world once more, whilst there is still time O God. In Jesus name we ask it, amen.

 

Sep | 26 | The Bare Facts

Dream Word – REAL

Ezekiel 16:25 "You built yourself a high place at the top of every street and made your beauty abominable, and you spread your legs to every passer-by to multiply your harlotry. NASU

The Bare Facts

I am not a pornographer. Though I could be. No, the abuse and the misuse of women in glossy magazines and internet titillation, is in my mind, an offence to all real men and is an abomination to God, for the marriage bed is holy and undefiled. Yes indeed, according to the Bible, sex is good and great and holy to boot! How wonderful. Imagine that!

Therefore, dragging sex through the dirt is a terrible offence to the gift of God and a stain on His beautiful creation. However, I am no prude, no, I have no problem with fine art and the odd bosom and bare behind. It is all a matter of context you see, a matter of what is being portrayed and said. Yes, the misuse of sex is a terrible thing, but the misunderstanding of naked portrayal is simply immature and silly. As a verbalist, in the same way I suppose, the naked words I use must also have some relevant artistic ‘context’ lest they too become pornographically offensive. Yes that sounds right doesn’t it? For our culture I mean. It sounds right? Right? However, God does not seem to follow these same cultural rules.
Our text for tonight for example is raw and naked. It contains no misunderstandings. It is straightforward, it is grossly offensive and it is God that is speaking! Imagine a Pastor or church member using that kind of language! They would be excommunicated! No, don’t play the cultural context card here, for if anything, in that culture the impact of these words in our text for tonight have more offense and power than we can possibly imagine. God knew it and so God used it. God is very offensive. He doesn’t care. He’s not polite and He’s not respectable.

You see the problem with naked words, words without any culturally respectable mores, is that the pictures they paint are shocking! Indeed, they sometimes paint so large a portrait that it is only the vast unbounded context of the mind that can house those word pictures painted upon it. We need to be careful don’t we then, regarding just what kind of pictures we can paint with the words of our mouth? I mean last night’s poetic quote from the ‘Poet Bank Robber Black Bart,’ was pretty offensive, I mean, fancy finding 'that' in a Christian devotional. It is a good job that it was only verbal art wasn’t it? What's more important for me though, is that it is a good job I didn’t go as far as Jesus did in giving astonishing cultural and religious verbal offense. Phew! Thank goodness I did not go as far as Jesus in being offensive in my language. You see God is often very offensive. He doesn't care. He's not polite. He's not respectable.

Shall I be brave? Yes, I think I shall. Why not? Let me introduce you tonight then to some of the most offensive words ever spoken. Libellous they are! Outrageous they are! Astonishing even! Unfortunately though, the words are true and the passion in which they were spoken is rightly powerful, even spitting in its condemnation. So much so, that they got the speaker killed.

Listen – Jesus speaking to religious hypocrites says -"If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. John 8:42-44 NKJV

Now friends, we have little felt import regarding the extreme offensiveness to a learned Jew of being called “A lying and murdering son of Satan!” When Jesus shouted and spat this verbal slap at the great and the gowned , all the listening mothers began holding their hands over the ears of their children. All the grandmothers were saying “Tush” and sucking their breath in deeply and shaking their heads in outrageous disbelief! All the Pharisees were reaching for rocks and all the disciples were wide-eyed and open-mouthed, staring at Jesus in disbelief! Its outrageous I know, but it’s nothing compared to another place, where He’s really going to go ‘word wild’ on them and open up His big verbal guns and blast them with nomenclature like you’ve never heard before! Names that explode like hot shrapnel on the ringing ears of dumbfounded, pompously pious and polite big hypocrites whose nice religious language has camouflaged a festering and a fallen reality. “Open graves!” He shall call them, “White washed walls and nests of snakes” He throws at them, and a whole lot more besides. Yes indeed, there is many a religious and respectable Christian that should be thankful that not all the works and choice words of Jesus have been fully recorded for us.

Christianity is for real men. Men with swords, men itching for action, men willing to hazard their lives for the Gospel, men who can face lions and the strongest of charging bulls, grapple them by the horns, look them in the eyes and tell them the truth in full and not so glorious technicolor, even if it costs them their lives. The words of Jesus are for men, for they are spoken by the very best of men.

Christianity is for real women, godly women, strong of life and sure of lip, throbbing in heart, weeping at His feet, serving with singing, tough and tender, ready to glean in the fields of Boaz, ready to labour long, love lots, hope much, and command the dignity they deserve in every market place that they may tread. The words of Jesus are for real women who are sick of lies.

I have to say to some of you tonight that it is time to grow up. It is time to get real, it is time to lay aside the large offense you attach to small words and become as Christ. Christianity is not polite. Christianity is not respectable. Christianity is like its founder, like its Commander in Chief, it is righteous, robust and holy and that is the way you and your ears must become.

I spend my time encouraging folk to come to Christ! I spend my time encouraging folk to come to church, but I tell you tonight, that with some of you, I need to encourage you to put down your gold-engraved, red- leather Bibles and go join the Masons or the Women’s Institute or some other non-offensive little club. I say this because Christ and His cause is not for you. Frankly your polite and pressed suit approach to the beautifully raw and everlasting Gospel, is keeping people away from the Kingdom, yes it’s keeping them away in their thousands. I invite you tonight then to either get saved, get real, or get out, for I wonder if you really know the real Jesus of the real Bible all red in word and raw?

Listen: - "You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it." When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!" Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:51-60 NKJV

Pray: Lord, forgive me for treating Your house like a club for old ladies. Lord, let the words of my mouth, the meditations of my heart, the passion of my pulse and the presence of my true self, be acceptable in Your sight, Oh God my strength and my redeemer. Amen!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sep | 25 | Robbing Churches

Key Word:- CONNECT

Title:- Robbing Churches

Philippians 4:19,20 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Living in America exposes you to the largest of multi-media ministries, radio and television being the most expensive with respect to running costs. Though I am thankful to be able to see many godly ‘Word & Spirit’ related ministries on television, costly ministries do have the tendency to keep asking for your money and when you have to ask so consistently for the same thing, you tend to become innovative and in becoming innovative you become ‘edgy’ and such ‘edginess’, has to be justified and such justification, leads to what so many have called, ‘The Gospel of Health and Wealth.’

Involved in church planting, I find that in the early stages you wear every hat imaginable. That of ‘Fund Raiser’ is the one I hate the most. It takes me well outside of my comfort zone and into an high octane, dangerous and strange mixture of bombastic humility. How else can I describe the feelings and functions of a mystic missionary, a visionary but penniless entrepreneur, a righteous robber even? A robber indeed, for Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:7-9, hyperbolically adds this to his sins and vices, when in castigating the Corinthians he says, “Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you.”

It would appear from the scriptures, that is not good to rob God, but it is OK to rob churches! Am I being edgy? I see the red light of danger flashing in the corner of my eye.

Now, I may have related some of the following story previously but let me unpack it a little more. You see, there I was, returning from investigating an area for a possible church plant. A brother had placed $140 in my pocket before leaving home, but I had been so well taken care of by the Pastor I was visiting, that I still had $100 left over. Arriving at the ‘check in’ desk, tired and eager to get home, the lady looked at me quizzically and said, “I’m sorry sir, you are a week early for your flight.” Sure enough there was the date on my ticket. Either a human or technical error had placed me on a return flight, two weeks from my departure and not the one week I had intended. “Listen,” she says “I can transfer you to the flight today but there will be a cost of $100.” I reached into my pocket took out the folded bills and laid them before her. “Let’s do it!”

In times past I have come home from wealthy churches and literally had to pick corn from the adjacent field to my house to feed my family that day. I have gotten up in the morning and had ‘apple sauce’ for breakfast with my children for it was all we had in the cupboard. That day though, I had $100 dollars. A prepared payment for a tired traveller. The spiritual journey of the Christian traveller is also a strange financial roller coaster as well. At times, it is unfathomable. This spiritual journey of ours will contain both abasing and abounding! Now there's a sermon title....Be prepered for both!

Listen:- I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13

Pray :- “Lord, neither fullness nor want is a sign of Your blessing O God. Yet I tell You dear Father, that if Your manifest presence is not with me, if I am not aware of Your 'stickable' faithfulness, then truly, I am a pauper amongst the princes of this world. Lord, in all my gifts, in all my presents, let me know Your presence today. In Jesus name, amen.
 

Sep | 25 | Of Warrior Houses and Big Girl's Blouses

Dream Word – CARE

2 Samuel 2:18  Now the three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab and Abishai and Asahel. NKJV

Of Big Girl’s Blouses and Warrior Houses

Joab and Abishai and Asahel were of course the three sons of Zeruiah, one of the two half sister’s of David and thus his three half nephews. Heroes of David they were! Close of kin and so close companions of King David they were as well and quite frankly, they were also a right pain in the rear to boot!

Zeruiah was of course the older half sister of David, his mother most probably having been married before and on becoming a widow, then marrying David’s father Jesse. You see, composite families are not new!

What is evident from the Biblical record is that Zeruiah’s natural father, Nahash, is mentioned but once and that is in relation to him being the father of her sister Abigail. Zeruiah’s husband’s name is actually never mentioned in the Scriptures at all! And her three remarkable sons are always referred to as the son’s of Zeruiah. I think it a right conjecture then, to surmise that Zeruiah was a strong, capable, tenacious, heroic and pushy individual! She had to be really, and oh may I remind you that she was also David’s big sister and may I tell you, she was no ‘big girl's blouse!’

Interestingly I think, Zeruiah’s name means 'wounded', or ‘squeezed of the Lord,’ and is related to being cracked under pressure. Not a cracking that produces madness mind you, but rather a distilled squeezed out balsamed preciousness. A sweet-smelling savour if you will. Now, we do not know just what this squeezing pressure might have been, a physical deformity maybe, a prophetic name indicative of various life crisis' maybe? But what we do know is that she was a very strong and influential woman, especially as she raised three very competitive, hard, dedicated, and somewhat over-zealous warrior generals! Yes indeed, neither Zeruaih nor her sons could be classed as just 'big girl's blouses'. Oh and did I mention that she was David’s big sister?

There are two things I would like to say to you warrior women tonight:

Firstly, that it is possible to take your cracked and broken lives to God and have Him squeeze out a very special inheritance for you, your family and your nation. Yes, it is possible for you to raise up Generals!

Secondly, that you big sisters can have a great influence over your younger brothers, for I wonder if this particular big sister not only set a brave example for David the shepherd boy but on occasion, gave him a good old thump on his arm whilst telling him to ‘stop whining and man up?’ I wonder? For I tell you, this Zeruiah was no 'big girl's blouse' and neither were her sons.

How about you sister? Are you manning up? How about your sons momma? Are they winners or whiners ? Wise up girls! You have more influence over young boys than you can ever imagine. So, oh my goodness you mothers and big sisters all, in all your prayings, actions and leadings, do make sure that you are producing Kings and Generals and not pansies and drivelling dressmakers.

Listen: - Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the army; 1 Chronicles 18:15 NKJV

Pray:- Lord, rightly shape our mothers, that they may rightly shape their children and grant us shaping sisters to boot, in Jesus name I pray, amen!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sep | 24 | Seeing Songs

Key Word:- OBEY

Title:- Seeing Songs

Psalm 40:3 He has put a new song in my mouth — Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the LORD.

I seem to be one of those people who lately, cannot carry a tune in a bucket! Violence to vocal chords has limited my range of expression considerably. Never the less, the God of the Bible still encourages even me to sing!

I am reminded that The Scriptures speak not once of old songs, but consistently of new ones. You see, there seems to be a freshness of expression that should be expected with each new generation, even with each new Christian. I wonder if everyday we should all be singing skillfully, new songs that contain shouts of joy?

Have you noticed that many songs have a 'sell by' date. That's ok, but the problem is when we insist on parcelling the 'well overdue and well overdone' up in books and laying them out before our congregations and insisting they then turn to page 'so and so' and then drone on and on, whilst drowning in old froth, well, it is then that the once new songs become simply old hat.It seems to me that worship should find a new voice, and yes indeed, a new expression in each new generation and in each new Christian.

Now let me really scare all our English readers of a certain age by saying that these new songs are animated. No, not the 'Our God is so big, so strong and so mighty' or ‘If I were a Billy Goat’, silly animations for the over 40’s and early demented kind of songs, no, these are spirit animated songs. Let me explain.

The New Songs, the living water springing up in our heart, welling up into praise, will both activate us and animate us. 'Big Daddy Brubeck' got it right, for truly 'There is Rhythm in Life!' Oh when we worship, we might raise our hands, we might even close our eyes and some of us might even get down and get with it, but it's not that which the Scripture is talking about. Not really.

It's about how the new song, like a great river is eroding all the old banks of long set feelings, habits and previous passions and replacing, changing and improving our inner landscape. So much so, that the outward cloth laid over us, is also fluctuating and morphing into new and winsome shapes, for you see friend, that cloth laid over our inner landscape is weaved into our countenance, our hands, our feet, our eyes, our actions, our relationships, our giving, our attitude, our fashion, our vision, our decision, our mission, and most especially, our mouth. Think about this though. All I have mentioned is in fact 'our mouth', for this new song is a song that is SEEN RATHER THAN HEARD! He has put a new song in my mouth — Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, for sweet charity always brings the real rhythm of life.

Listen:- Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and spoke, saying: “I will sing to the LORD, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God, and I will exalt Him. The LORD is a man of war; The LORD is His name. Exodus 15:1-3

Pray:- Lord as you re-lay in me, the foundations of your world, let me hear the singing sons of the morning raise such shouts of praise, that they will shake the heavens once more. Amen.

 

Sep | 24 | The Drowning of Two Twins & The PO 8 ‘Black Bart’

Dream Word – CHANGE

2 Samuel 13:26,27
Then Absalom said, "If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us."And the king said to him, "Why should he go with you?" But Absalom urged him; so he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him. NKJV

The Drowning of Two Twins & The PO 8 'Black Bart'


I had been in Des Moine Iowa for the weekend performing some of my poetry. It had been my first time in the Mid West and in a place that is reported to have more pigs than people, I was pleased to find them all as pleasant as I expected them to be. Historically, Des Moines was a prominent staging post for the Old Wells Fargo overland mail service and it was good to see this company was still prominent in the area, providing jobs to many people and giving its name to the 2005, 17,000 seat, Wells Fargo Arena. Yes, the city of Des Moine wore its old lady face-lift very well indeed.

Henry Wells and William Fargo spawned a number of companies, including ‘American Express', however, it was the Wells Fargo overland mail company, owning the largest stagecoach empire in the world, that has fixed itself firm in all the legends and stories of the old Wild West. Another spin off from The Wells Fargo company, the Pony Express, together with the famous six-horse 'Concord' coach charging across the open plains of the old Mid West, was in my youth, the stuff of every 'Cowboy and Indian' style robbery re-enacted on many a hot summer afternoon.

The Concord Stage Coach’s treasure box was made of Ponderosa pine, oak and iron, and was usually kept underneath the drivers seat and body-guarded by very unsavoury characters armed with sawn-off shotguns. I say usually kept underneath the driver’s seat, because should the coach not be carrying passengers, then the treasure box was bolted to the inside floor of the Coach. Now this last fact is important as I introduce to you Mr. Charles Boles, or as he was commonly known then, the famous and daring Stage Coach Robber-Poet, ‘Black Bart.’

Farmer, gold prospector, wounded Civil War soldier, Black Bart had tasted a life of adventure and would not go back to the simple farming life he had previously embraced. This man had more than an itch for adventure though, he had a grudge to go with it. Yes sir, we know from his letters to his wife, that he had reported some kind of ‘unpleasantness’ that had happened to him at the hands of Wells Fargo employees and he had vowed to get them back. A colourful little poem which he left at one of his always polite and courteous little robberies, reads as follows:-

"I've labored long and hard for bread,
For honor and for riches,
But on my corns too long you've tred
You fine-haired sons of bitches."


Charles Boles, or Black Bart, would sign his 'post robbery pieces,' PO 8. Although he was reputed for his style, sophistication and eschewing of foul language, this little poem does reflect, shall we say, not a little evidence of the terrible twins of resentment and revenge and I tell you now, that when these two twins get drunk at their many reunions, trouble is a-brewing.

Coming full circle, Black Bart’s last stage robbery took place at Funk Hill, the same place of his fist robbery! However, this time, the situation was completely different. Robbing the treasure box from a Stage Coach with no passengers, meant that the treasure box was secured inside and the loosening of the bolts took some time. He eventually made his escape, only to be wounded in the process by the hard man who had been riding shotgun. Fleeing, Black Bart dropped several items including a laundry marked handkerchief, which eventually led to him being traced, found and arrested. After serving four years in San Quentin, Black Bart, emerged older and wiser, Wikipedia writes that, ‘Reporters swarmed around him when he was released. They asked if he was going to rob any more stagecoaches. “No gentlemen,” he smilingly replied, “I'm through with crime.” Another reporter asked if he would write more poetry. He laughed, “Now didn't you hear me say that I am through with crime?” and promptly disappeared from the scene.’ He was never heard of again.

I do not believe in either abortion nor infanticide, but resentment and revenge are two terrible twins that need drowning at birth! Drown them in the waters of confession, drown them in the waters of repentance, drown them in the waters of blessing those who hurt you and despitefully use you. If you don’t, then as twins do, no matter what the distance in mileage, no matter what the difficulty in terrain, no matter how long the time, they will one day get together for a reunion and I tell you, when that happens, when revenge and resentment lift their drunken glasses high, then God help the person they are toasting!

In our text for this evening, Absalom and the twins are arranging a death party for all the sons of David and he especially wants Amnon to come and join the fun, for Amnon the slither, Amnon the cur, Amon the terrible, two years ago, raped Absalolom’s sister Tamar. Since then, Absalom has said nothing, held his peace, bided his time. Now the drunken twins will have their way, and what a bad, red, way, it shall so surely be.

So, if you have resentment and revenge in your heart tonight, get up out of bed right now, go to the bathroom, run the water in the tub and then get down on your knees and take resentment in one hand and revenge in the other. Do not be distracted by their kicking, neither be deterred by their self-justifying screaming, their angry shouting and all their fussing, just hold them under these running waters until they kick no more. If you do not do this, then it's death or prison friend, it's death or prison.

Listen: - Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:19-21 NKJV

Pray: Lord, take me to the waters and strengthen my hands for this drowning work, in Jesus name I pray, amen!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sep | 23 | Doctorates for Deacons

Key Word:- OBEY

Title:- Doctorates for Deacons

Acts 6:1-3 Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;
 
I used to visit regularly the local seminary for deacons. ‘Jack's Diner’ is one of those ‘All American’ places I love to go. It was late at night and this 24 hour gathering place was ticking over nicely. I sat on a blue vinyl stool at the white Formica bar and stared over into the cramped cooking area. Any second now Al Pacino, as the short order chef, would grab another slip of paper, furiously impaled on an old greasy aluminium prong beneath the brown fat matted heat lamps, where the neat cooked food waited to be whisked away by the wizened and over stressed, over busy, young- old waitress named Frankie.

As far as I know, the seminary is still decorated with shiny aluminium and magic mirrors that reflect flickering pink fluorescent lights and broken, not so new, neon signs. “Eat at Jack’s!” The “J” almost certainly still flickerng intermittently and drawing attention to itself.

The communion furniture at Jack’s Diner is common. Two miraculous royal blend never empty coffee pots eternally and slowly simmering on the side. Indeed, the brew is so powerful that even the decaf would keep a hardened platoon of tired soldiers awake for at least 3 days and nights leaving them fidgety for a fight. The coffee’s aroma buzzes in unison with the neon lighting. Very soon Professor Frankie will swish into the classroom, pad in hand and begin the lesson. It’s a repetitive dance she has, but over the years, it has served herself and others very well indeed. Listen and learn:

“Hey hun how you doin? My names Frankie and I’m your waitress for tunite. What’s yur name?”

Chewing gum and with hands on hips, the education continues.

“Do yoo need a few mower minutes hun? Let me get ya some caffee whilst yu decide what yer wantin”

The food order is given and then gently, openly and intricately examined.

“So, how do yer like yur eggs? Hmhm
Fries or baked potadah? Hmhm
Gravy? Saaad salad” Hmhm
Sassage or baycun? Hmhm
Canadian or American?” Hmhm


The delivery will be hot and quick, arriving with affirmation from professor Frankie,

“Man this sure smells guurd! Think I’ll get me some O that thur myself!”

The consumption is never silent.

“More coffee hun?” or
“Is everything O.K hun? You like it?”

Searching eyes seem to be able to see through my off white and bourbon like stained plastic cup and somehow the coffee never gets below half empty and I mean, never! Whatever is left over (there are always ‘left overs’) are eventually removed and the final question is delicately broached,

“Dessert?”

The bill is written and out of respect, is placed face down on the table and with a smile, Frankie now flits away to serve another. She doesn’t wait to count her money or inspect her tip. She expects you to be honest and if she has served you well, to be generous. Satisfied and well served I leave.

“Y’all come on back now.”

Oh I will Frankie, I really will.

Kindness, fullness, warmth, consideration, attendant care and respect, will after years of selfless service, earn any prospective deacon, a Doctorate in Care. God’s seminary at Jacks Diner together with Professor Frankie, are open and available 24 hours a day for your continuing instruction. “Y’all come on down now and learn a little.”


Listen:- “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28

Pray:- Lord. Teach me to wash feet and wait on tables, to take care of the orphan and the widow. Lord teach me, pure and undefiled religion that is acceptable in Your sight, in Jesus name I pray, amen.

 

Sep | 23 | The Floodlight Of The Father

Dream Word – WORSHIP

Hebrews 1:3 ..who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, NKJV.

The Floodlight Of The Father

Concerning the word ‘brightness’ in our text for tonight, the Greek word ‘apaugasma’ is only ever used here in the New Testament. It literally means an off flash, a solar flare, a glory hole into His holy furnace, a floodlight from the Father’s heart shined on to hopeless humanity, all groping around in the dark, not even struggling to find the light switch. Concerning the glory of God then, Jesus is the ‘brightness’ of that glory on two legs, a tangible and touchable torch of illuminating love. Jesus is God. God, the light of the world made manifest among us and moved into our neighbourhood.

In the darkness of this very night, should you be awoken by strange noises, probably the first thing you reach for is a light, some form of illumination to light your way and show you the danger as well as hopefully frighten away the predator! Jesus is such a light and you need Him, for the strange noises you hear in your spirit are the creakings of your sin and the distant clawing of demons who make ready at a moment’s notice, to come and devour your soul. Yes, you really do need to reach for Jesus the light and let Him safely guide your path and frighten all your predators away. There is no other way to hush the distant clawing and close the mouths of predatory lions. So, get Jesus tonight, yes, ask for the floodlight of God to come and shine in the very centre of your dark, beleaguered being.

Listen: - Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." John 8:12 NKJV.

Pray:- Turn on Your light O God, turn on Your light and let all the darkness flee away. Turn on Your light O God, turn on Your light and make safe my bear trapped way. Turn on Your Light O God, turn on Your light and all fear and trepidation sever. Turn on Your Light O God, turn on Your light and drive the darkness back forever. In Jesus name I ask it, amen.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sep | 22 | Release From The Moorings of Memory

Key Word:- FORGIVE

Title:- Release From The Moorings of Memory

Jeremiah 31:34 “No more shall every man teach his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

'Proprioception' may give you awareness of your position and space, but memories are the moorings of your place in time. Without your memory how on earth can you begin to fit and function in the now? Memory may not be a sense, but we are senseless without it. The odd and godless, shocking surrealist Luis Buñuel remarks, “You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all, just as an intelligence without the possibility of expression. Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing.”

Without dissecting the many propositions in this statement, let's just agree on the importance of memory. Not that it is of primary importance of course, for men are more than a collection of memories; yet memories do moor us in time and do define us to ourselves and to others. Memory can be such a blessing. Yet if our memories are ones of abuse, or ones of perpetrated or even perpetrating violence, or maybe hatred, then memory leads to regret, imprisonment and even torture. If memory then becomes the unrelenting torturer of the mind, then memory can also mean madness! So we can conclude than that our capacity to remember and our choice to forget are both paramount to our personal wholeness. You will notice I did not say 'repress' memories but forget them, and 'choosing to forget' them at that.

All of us in this sick world carry the scars of things we have done and had done to us. The memories of these things can be overwhelming and dreadfully debilitating. When we are brave enough, or desperate enough, or sick enough, I wonder if God would then have us face our knife-edged problems, mourn them, grieve them, get angry over them, forgive them even and then choose to forget them; instead of using them like sharp pieces of broken vases to continually gouge the running poisoned puss out of the sores of our sorry souls? You see friends, I do believe there is a knowing forgetfulness that is rooted in forgiveness, that with it brings the healing and wholeness we so desperately crave. Most of us need to take an axe to the moorings that hold us in our unhappy harbours of hopelessness and start facing, forgiving and forgetting!

Don’t think that this is without cost. Look at Calvary. Here God paves the way for us His children and shows us that His forgiveness is His ultimate goal. With payment made in full, the all knowing God, chooses to forgive and to forget. This choosing of 'forgetting' allows Him to enter into areas of the darkest destruction and then build a holy and an immovable city. Do you see that friends? Do you want that?

Listen:- “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, that the city shall be built for the LORD from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. The surveyor's line shall again extend straight forward over the hill Gareb; then it shall turn toward Goath. And the whole valley of the dead bodies and of the ashes, and all the fields as far as the Brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be holy to the LORD. It shall not be plucked up or thrown down anymore forever.” Jeremiah 31:38-40

Pray:- Lord, give me the courage, give me the package, give me the desire, give me the desperateness, give me the wherewith all; to face, forgive and choose to forget. Then O Lord, together, let us build upon this cleared devastation a most holy and immovable, eternal habitation for Your glory and my comfort, in Jesus name I ask it, Amen.